PHOTO: Protestors rallied in February in Washington over the original travel ban. (Courtesy Flickr/Masha George)
President Trump’s Travel Ban 2.0, scheduled to go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, March 16, has been blocked a second time by a judge late Wednesday night.
This time, a district court in Hawaii made the decision in a 43-page ruling, as Judge Derrick Watson wrote that “The illogic of the Government's contentions is palpable. The notion that one can demonstrate animus toward any group of people only by targeting all of them at once is fundamentally flawed.”
Previously, a federal judge in Washington state struck down the original travel ban executive order in January that prohibited immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries—Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, Libya and Somalia – from entering the United States for at least 90 days.
The new travel ban announced last week, which even Trump himself called a ‘watered-down version’ of the original, was carefully re-written to avoid another court ruling.
"The order he blocked was a watered-down version of the first one," Trump said while learning the news as he was giving a speech. "This is, in the opinion of many, an unprecedented judicial overreach.”
Apparently not to Judge Watson and the state of Hawaii.
"Equally flawed is the notion that the Executive Order cannot be found to have targeted Islam because it applies to all individuals in the six referenced countries," Watson wrote. "It is undisputed, using the primary source upon which the Government itself relies, that these six countries have overwhelmingly Muslim populations that range from 90.7 percent to 99.8 percent. It would therefore be no paradigmatic leap to conclude that targeting these countries likewise targets Islam. Certainly, it would be inappropriate to conclude, as the Government does, that it does not. When considered alongside the constitutional injuries and harms ... and the questionable evidence supporting the Government's national security motivations, the balance of equities and public interests justify granting the Plaintiffs' (request).”
READ MORE: Will Hawaii Be The One To Fight Travel Ban 2.0?
It’s another tough setback for the President, who indicated he would fight this all the way to the Supreme Court.
The Department of Justice issued a statement Wednesday night saying “The president’s executive order falls squarely within his lawful authority in seeking to protect our nation’s security, and the department will continue to defend this executive order in the courts.”
Trump and the members of his administration might have hurt themselves also with previous comments about the travel ban. Judge Watson cited those comments in his ruling, specifically noting that senior Trump adviser Stephen Miller said on Fox News last month that “Fundamentally, you’re still going to have the same basic policy outcome for the country, but you’re going to be responsive to a lot of very technical issues that were brought up by the court and those will be addressed. But in terms of protecting the country, those basic policies are still going to be in effect.”